Jeff Ukiri, who dreamed of becoming a singer from childhood, first discovered his talent at his local church in the Delta State of Nigeria. Several years later he formed a gospel band, G-Light, with a group of friends and they went on to tour their native country.
In 2002 he teamed up with his uncle, established Nigerian Gospel singer Asu Ekiye, to work with him on the award-winning album “Back to Base”.
It was the following year that Jeff decided to go solo under the name of U-Jeff and began work on his own album “Another Phaze”. Two songs from the album, “Kperegede” and “Zion Lady” became hits and “Zion Lady” went on to be nominated for several national awards.
Since coming to the UK in 2005, Jeff has continued to pursue his musical career alongside his full-time job as a community engagement and development worker.. He has shared the stage with renowned world music artists Lucky Dube and Angelique Kidjo during the Manchester leg of their respective international tours.
Jeff’s musical influences are varied and include Gospel, R&B, Jazz, Highlife and Afrobeat. He describes his own musical style as Afrobeat with a fusion of Gospel and R&B. Like many modern African musicians, Jeff feels strongly that music should be used as a force for social responsibility, morality and decency. His lyrics challenge many of the negative images attributed to black music in the Western world.
Venues and promoters in Nigeria are already hotly anticipating Jeff’s latest musical incarnation and are pencilling in dates for a national tour of Jeff’s forthcoming new band. Watch this space!